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Inside The Molecule!


At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a team of scientists that included Peter Ercius and Jianwei Miao led to an exciting discovery. The group were able to visually see the precise locations of an impressive 23,000 atoms that were residing in a single particle. What makes this perhaps most interesting is all those atoms could fit inside of the wall of a cell.

Not only were they able to determine that there were 6,569 iron atoms and 16,627 platinum atoms, but they were also able to see exactly where each and every atom inside the nanoparticle was located. This discovery opens up a whole new world of opportunities. The irony of this discovery is the fact that the researchers used the sort of microscope which has been in use for many years already to scan the structure of crystals. It was only the scanning method that they altered. Simply put, instead of photographing a stationary particle from one side only, the photographed it while rotating it.

The belief is that with this new technology, scientists will be able to take a photograph of these atoms and further aid research and discovery. That could lead to new and exciting medical advancements that go beyond what we even can imagine is possible.

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Cover Photo: Scientists have identified the 3D coordinates of 6,569 iron and 16,627 platinum atoms in an iron-platinum nanoparticle.Credit: Colin Ophus and Florian Nickel


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